Karnal Kisan Mahapanchayat: Talks fail again; farmers plan permanent protest
Farmers protesting against the agricultural laws in Haryana have threatened a prolonged agitation in Karnal, alleging inaction by authorities in the matter of police excess on demonstrators on August 28. Talks between the protesters and the state government remained inconclusive for the second consecutive day on Wednesday. Last evening, the farmers had set up tents outside the government offices in Karnal.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said, "We may have a permanent protest like Singhu and Tikri border here." Tikait added that they do not want ongoing protests at Delhi's border to be disturbed by the one in Karnal. Reportedly, by Wednesday evening, farmers had started setting up permanent structures with iron frames and waterproof covers in Karnal.
Gurjant Virk—who suffered injuries in the August 28 police baton-charge—told The Indian Express, "Today, I was discharged from the hospital after 10 days and I came to the dharna venue instead of going home. I will not go home till the farmers' demands are met."
Notably, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh—affiliated to the RSS, the ideological parent of the ruling BJP—held a protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar demanding remunerative price for farmers' produce. The protesters alleged that farmers aren't getting the minimum support price (MSP) in many regions. The protesters also said that the police caused a delay in the demonstration, however, the police said the protest was never allowed.
On Tuesday, the farmers had held talks with the government demanding justice for the victims of the August 28 violence. After the talks failed, they had marched to Karnal's mini-secretariat. The police forces deployed to block their path had utilized water cannons against the protesters. Visuals from the scene showed the protesters holding placards and shouting slogans as they jumped over police barricades.
On August 28, protesting farmers faced a brutal baton-charge at the hands of the police. Several protesters were seen bleeding. One person died, but the police identified the cause as cardiac arrest. Thereafter, a video emerged where Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha was seen instructing police officers to "break (the protesters') heads." Authorities have since dismissed the video as unrelated to the violence.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM)—an umbrella body of over 40 farmers' groups that is leading the protest—demanded Sinha's suspension, accusing the government of protecting and promoting "the murderous official". Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) Haryana unit chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said, "When farmers are booked for even road blockades, why not take action against the officer who ordered (the police) to break heads."